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Some more contemporary theories of learning – all stages including the workplace

Engestrom Y, (2006) Learning by expanding. An activity theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki. Orienta–Konsultit.

Expansive Learning. The idea of internal contradictions of change, with a model of learning activity based on horizontal, not vertical learning and ‘knotworking’ whereby the nodes and collective ownership of learning changes.

Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) The Knowledge Creating Company: How Japanese companies create the dynamics for learning.

Learning that is top down and stems from:


Lave and Wenger (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge.

Learning comes about from participation in culturally valued practices in which something useful is produced – though participation and acquisition alone cannot be enough to make major change. Engestrom p61

Bateston (1972) Steps to an ecology of mind: collected essays in anthropology, psychiatry, evolution and epistomelogy. New York. Ballantine Books.

When it comes to learning on campus think about the ‘hidden curriculum of what it means to be a student’.


Intuition in creative decision making in business

In management decision-making:

Perception,  Intuition, tacit knowledge and apprehension of Eastern cultures have a role to play. (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995)

Logic, precision and evidence has been the way of the West.

N.B P56 the unconscious has a role to play.

Neurones and dendrites.

Plasticity: though as metaphors go I  prefer paths through a wood, rather than water on a jelly (de Bono). Telegraph, to analogue telephone, to high-speed internet broadband might be even better.

What we see is very much affected by what we expect to see.

P57 (how does this impact on a trial several years after the event?)

We recreate images of past events anew on each occasion. p57

i.e. No one has a photographic memory. People’s recollection of events change years after.

And we find it easier to recall memories laid down in a particular state. e.g. recalling a dream can be as easy as positioning yourself in bed as you were when you had the dream. (Prepare for an exam by revising and testing yourself in exam-like conditions?)

p62 Our memory of how to do things is often tied to the situation in which it was learnt.

N.B. The importance of intuitive decision-making that can assimilated information that is too complex to verbalised.

P65 Mintzberg (1975, 1996) use of intuition by managers. Isenberg (1987) managers often by-pass rigorous, analytical planning altogether, particularly when they difficult, novel, or extremely entangled problems.


For the next week keep a record of any intuitions and hunches you have, and note what led you to recognise them.

Keep a diary of intuitive judgements and decisions you make, and subsequently note whether or not you were proved right.

P76 ‘It seems we have a strong tendency to apply rules mindlessly, which means we easily miss new approaches.

P78 People perform close to their labels. Research shows. (So never label a person or child).

P84 the unconscious mind often fails to match, particularly where information is incomplete.


Claxton, Going Beyond cleverness: how to be smart without thinking.

Nonaka, I and Takeuchi , H ‘Oraganizational knowledge creation’.

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